Penalties, injuries hurting Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks are dealing with injuries on their

defensive front and penalties as they enter the final week of

preseason action.

Five players expected to contribute significantly along the

Seahawks’ defensive line may not be able to play for the start of

the regular season.

The team was forced to place fifth-round pick Jesse Williams on

injured reserve Monday because of a troublesome knee. Defensive

tackle Jordan Hill is sidelined with a strained biceps and nose

tackle Brandon Mebane injured his groin in practice on Monday.

Chris Clemons remains on the physically unable to perform list

and his timetable to return from an ACL tear last January remains

uncertain and Cliff Avril aggravated a hamstring strain last week

and has yet to play this preseason.

With Clemons still out and Bruce Irvin suspended for the first

four games of the regular season, Avril was expected to at least

bridge the gap at defensive end until Clemons and Irvin

returned.

Now Avril’s status is also in question.

”We don’t know if he is going to be ready for the opener. We

just don’t know,” coach Pete Carroll said.

The injuries have left Seattle short-handed as the regular

season is approaching and could also alter the makeup of the roster

during final cuts.

In addition, the Seahawks are getting penalized at a staggering

rate this preseason. Seattle has been flagged 34 times for 354

yards in three games and had 14 penalties for 184 yards in Friday’s

game against the Green Bay Packers.

”It’s still a problem,” Carroll said. ”We’re trying too hard

and we’re getting in too late trying to throw guys into the ground

when we finish blocks. We’re over trying.

”I love the attitude about it in a sense, but we have to get

smarter and we can’t do anything but continue to emphasize the heck

out of it. After a while if guys keep making mistakes then you have

to put other guys in the game.”

”I’m not real pleased with the results of that. I know a good

deal of it is my fault because of the way of that I am calling on

them on how hard to play. I want them to emphasize finishing and

being physical, and attitude and all of that. And I need to make

some good decisions myself in directing this,” he added.

Penalties were a problem for Seattle early last season as well.

The Seahawks had at least 13 penalties in two of their first three

games last year.

The difference was those games were worked by replacement

officials before the league and referees union agreed on a new

contract.

Carroll believed some of their penalties last year were due to

being unfamiliar with the referees working games and how the games

were called. However, that can’t be used as an explanation this

time around.

Carroll said they don’t want to give their opponents anything

and it’s a problem they have to fix.

”We just have to get out of our own way. We’re playing hard,

we’re running the football, getting after it, throwing, catching,

and all of the things that we need to do. But there’s one area

where we have to comply, and we’re a little out of compliance right

now,” Carroll said.

Notes: WR Sidney Rice (knee), FB Michael Robinson (illness) and

DT Jordan Hill (biceps) sat out practice on Monday. … G James

Carpenter returned to practice for the first time in a couple of

weeks since injuring his foot. … Carroll said DE Chris Clemons is

progressing and isn’t favoring his injured knee during workouts. He

said they are still unsure how far away he is from being able to

play, but that he’s making ”great progress.” … S Jeron Johnson

missed practice Monday to attend to a family issue. He was expected

back with the team Monday night.

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org